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Louisiana moves into Phase 3 with mask mandate still in place

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Posted at 10:15 AM, Mar 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-03 11:15:06-05

Governor John Bel Edwards announced Tuesday that Louisiana would move forward to Phase 3.

This announcement coming after almost six weeks of improvements in Louisiana’s COVID case counts and a sustained decrease in COVID-related hospitalizations

This brings most COVID restrictions back to where they were in September 2020.

Louisiana’s statewide mask mandate, which has been in place since last July, will remain in place. The Governor’s new order will last for 28 days and will expire March 31, 2021.

On Wednesday March 3, the state moved into Phase 3. Here is a look at what that means:

The majority of businesses, including restaurants and salons, will be able to move to 75 percent of their capacity and indoor gatherings and event centers will be capped at 50 percent of their capacity but limited to 250 people. Religious services will no longer have capacity limits, social distancing is strongly encouraged and masking will still be required.

Gyms and fitness centers will remain at 50 percent of their capacity, based on recent research from the CDC that raises concern about the spread of COVID-19 in these settings.

Bars in all parishes will be able to open for indoor service at 25 percent capacity, not to exceed 250 people, but those in parishes where the percent positivity is 5 percent or lower for two consecutive weeks may have indoor service at 50 percent capacity, not to exceed 250 people. Alcohol sales still must end at 11 p.m. and no one younger than 21 years old can enter a bar. Patrons must be masked at all times except when consuming food or drink, and they must be served at socially distanced tables.

Live music will be allowed indoors under additional guidance provided by the State Fire Marshal. Indoor gatherings may operate at 50 percent capacity with a cap of 250 people. Outdoor events may operate at 50 percent of their capacity, with no cap on attendance, but six feet of social distancing must be practiced.

Conventions, conferences, indoor sporting events and fairs and festivals may operate at up to 50 percent capacity with six feet of social distancing required, if they receive approval from the State Fire Marshal and the Louisiana Department of Health.

Strict masking continues to be required for all gatherings and events.

Overall, Louisiana’s percent positivity for COVID-19 tests is 5 percent, one third of the positivity rate six weeks ago. The state has completed more than 6 million COVID tests and administered more than 1 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines.

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